Italy has a long tradition of taking public stances on issues concerning the United Nations (UN) in general, and the Security Council (SC) in particular. The most important of such issues is perhaps the reform of the SC, a hotly debated question on which Italy has been taking a leading position for many years, promoting a series of proposals around which a group known as “Uniting for Consensus” has gathered. This very same theme has been discussed by Italian representatives at the UN also in 2017 and 2018, when they reiterated and further clarified their country’s view. Those years also correspond to the biennium that saw Italy and the Netherlands share a split non-permanent seat at the SC (the former being a member in 2017). Therefore, Italy has recently had many occasions to express its ideas on the action of the SC.
It is well known that the role of the SC has been progressively expanding since the end of the Cold War, so that nowadays its activities have a far wider scope than that envisioned in 1945 by the drafters of the UN Charter. Such legal developments can be said to be, by now, largely accepted by the international community, and even those States that occasionally veto or anyhow oppose certain SC resolutions, sometimes do that inconsistently and by putting forth political rather than legal justifications. This notwithstanding, the issue of how far-reaching the powers of the SC are remains the subject of scholarly debate and is still of some practical importance for States. From this perspective, it may be useful to review Italy’s stances on the action of the SC.
During 2016, the Italian Government was often questioned before the Parliament about arms exports from Italy to countries where either a conflict was occurring or international norms were being violated. The statements by the different members of the Government highlighted a heterogeneous practice, contingent upon different variables, some of which related to the presence of international measures and others to political considerations of the Government itself.
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVII LEGISLATURE, 372nd MEETING, 12 JANUARY 2015.
On 12 January 2015, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, reported before the Senate of the Republic on the position of Italy in the international fight against terrorism. Mr Gentiloni illustrated, inter alia, Italy’s efforts against ISIL/Daesh. He said:
On 12 December 2014, the Italian Minister of Defence, Ms Roberta Pinotti, was interviewed by Mr Paolo Valentino, a journalist with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Before replying to – and denying – a rumour according to which she could become the next President of the Republic of Italy, she answered a number of questions concerning her Country’s foreign policy. She expressed Italy’s willingness to be protagonist in the Libyan crisis and to “provide its soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force”, but only upon certain conditions. In this respect, according to the Minister:
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SIXTH COMMITTEE (LXVIII Session, XI Meeting), OBSERVER STATUS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE UNIFICATION OF PRIVATE LAW IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (UNIDROIT), 16 OCTOBER 2013.
On 16 October 2013, during the XI meeting of the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy, Amb. Antonio Bernardini, submitted the draft resolution A/C.6/68/L.5 on the Observer Status for the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) in the General Assembly. Amb. Bernardini expressed support for the further development of the natural links between the Institute and the United Nations, in order to obtain greater mutual benefits and to lay the foundations for positive interactions between the two institutions. He drew the attention of delegations:
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, INFORMAL INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE, 11 SEPTEMBER 2013.
On the occasion of the last meeting of the UN General Assembly Informal Interactive Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect, held on 11 September 2013, the Minister for Integration, Cécile Kyenge made a statement concerning the meaning of Responsibility to Protect for democratic constituencies. According to the Minister, even in democratic countries social vulnerability and segregation may constitute a “risk factor” within the meaning of the Secretary-General’s report on “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect”. She stated: